Global environmental challenges
But there may be a silver lining even to the worst storm clouds; hurricanes and typhoons may help — at least a bit – to slow global warming by washing huge amounts of leaves, branches, tree trunks, roots and soil into the ocean, according to research in the journal Nature Geoscience. Read a story about the findings here.
Plants soak up carbon dioxide – a non-toxic heat-trapping gas that is building up fast in the atmosphere because of human emissions of greenhouse gases – as they grow and release the stored carbon when they rot or burn.
The study in Taiwan showed that torrential rains during typhoon Mindulle in 2004 washed perhaps 0.05 percent of all carbon stored on hillsides out to sea — mixed with other debris it sinks to the seabed where it is quickly buried, trapping carbon which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.